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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

What do you believe that Albert Einstein meant by this quote?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (29041 points ) May 2nd, 2014

“Every one who is seriously engaged in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit vastly superior to that of men, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.”
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19 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

He is saying that if you study science in earnest, you will see the laws of nature that governs our world, our universe and the lives of all things alive in our world are so complex, perfectly designed, balanced and in sync with each other that you will be left with no other option but to conclude that a much higher power than a mere deity is responsible. He further suggests that to worship any other God absent of understanding and honoring this great dynamic of the laws of nature is to leave yourself naive to this great reveal of science.

talljasperman's avatar

He is saying the feels awe and wonder from science.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Agreed with @talljasperman, he feels a great awe and wonder in science and, as @Cruiser notes, that the great dynamics of nature are amazing in their interplay. He does not refer to God as some religious would like to believe, however. He was at most a deist, as he made very plainly clear after people used quotes like the above to paint him as conventionally religious:

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” In a letter to Joseph Dispentiere, 1954

ragingloli's avatar

as @talljasperman said, admiration and awe.
As he clarified here:
“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

flutherother's avatar

I think he was telling us that science isn’t necessarily opposed to religion and that scientific endeavour can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of religion feelings.

pleiades's avatar

@ragingloli You never cease to amaze me, whether I completely disagree with you, or am totally in love with your answer. The latter rings true for me in this case ;]

Anywho I have a hard time writing out my answer for this one because for some reason I can’t get it together but I generally agree with the understanding of how the laws of nature work and his truest appreciation in acceptance of it he is awed.

When I see something like this

I’m in awe too. For me, this is what I’d prefer, this sort of natural world. Granted of course the temples were structured by man but it was only a few thousand years ago that we lived in a very tribal world

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Apparently Einstein believed in a creator being, he just refused to consider this being to be a personal kind of guy.

Cruiser's avatar

When I first discovered science and my passion for the study of the universe I thought this is a deal breaker for all things religious, but as time went on, I could only admire the scientists who although were writing and directing these studies of this universe and the power it has had over the creation of the planet we live on….many still held onto dearly their religious beliefs and convictions. IMO there is plenty of room in this universe for all belief systems and no need to label anyone naive or in the know just because of what they choose to believe.

ucme's avatar

I just think the old fart liked the sound of his own voice.

Cruiser's avatar

@ucme He would have fit in perfectly here

ucme's avatar

@Cruiser Maybe, but possibly felt himself too good for such trivia.

kritiper's avatar

Actually, he was an Agnostic Jew.

Paradox25's avatar

I know what he meant by that quote from doing a bit of research about him, but I can’t describe the answer in human words.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I believe that it means we can no longer talk about science and religion casually or allegorically. Every utterance now can and will be twisted to mean the opposite of what was intended, and then used against us.

Bill1939's avatar

Einstein said ”... the laws of nature manifest the existence of a spirit… the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.” Additionally he said “I do not believe in a personal God… ” I also believe this.

alphabetpony92's avatar

@ucme He seemed like a very humble guy to me actually, very non egotistical.

Its usually other people who build him up and idolize him as an almost God like figure, as if he was not human. Its a bit morbid actually.

ucme's avatar

@alphabetpony92 That was just me repaying a veiled insult to the jelly above me, nowt to do with Albert

Dan_Lyons's avatar

It’s amazing how wrong he was about God not being personal. Just as wrong as he was about the Static Universe
R_E = \Lambda_E^{-½} = {c \over \sqrt{4\pi G\rho}}

and his rejection of quantum theory.

BiZhen's avatar

Albert Einstein was only human, so he made errors. This quote is a major one. The Cosmological Constant was another one, as he later admitted. I hope he realized this quote was wrong. Believers “quote mine”, of course, so they would ignore his saying this one is wrong. This quote shows Deism. Someone said that Deism is a timid version of Atheism.

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